be es wasted in Indecision or in protracted negotiations/5 " a prolonged
delay in the settlement can have the effect of increasing the division
between the Poles in Poland/5 and also of " hampering the common
action . . . against Germany." But who was e hampering this action * ?
Did these sentences bring to light certain secret attempts in the talks be-
tween the * Big Two s in Moscow to bargain with Poland's future. Did
these sentences confirm the rumour that Stalin was holding up his winter
offensive until he received a definite British pledge to that end ?
But at this stage, when Stalin was still occupied with the Balkans,,
nothing which Churchill could say or promise the Kremlin in connection
with Poland had any value., for nothing would have persuaded Stalin to
renew a further offensive against Berlin until he had completed his in-
tentions with regard to the Balkans. Churchill was urged forward by the
powerful pressure of his fear for the Mediterranean and, since Stalin had
decreed that the Polish problem must be settled before agreement could
be reached on any other point., Churchill pressed Mikolajczyk to the wall,
for "to abandon hope in this matter* (the settlement of the Polish problem)
he pathetically exclaimed <: would indeed be to surrender to despair."
Yet other problems of territorial demands, in relation to the main
aggressors, Germany and Japan, had not been decided upon, and it had
been agreed to leave such decisions until the post-war period. It was
Poland alone who had to be partitioned in such haste in order not " to
hamper the common action . . . against Germany." These " words were
spoken in England on October 27, on the day when the dead in Warsaw
were lying still unburied in its streets and when the ruins of the town
were still smouldering . . . "
" The Kremlin has indeed exercised a fatal fascination for the states-
men who have gone on a pilgrimage to its shrine," sarcastically commented
one of the Scottish political writers,* quoting an excerpt from G. K.
Chesterton's poem, The Crusader's Return from Captivity. " I have
come forth alive from the land of purple and poison and glamour, where
the charm is strong as the torture being chosen to change the mind."
" The torture ... to change the mind " was applied constantly and
strongly in this case until even such an experienced statesman as Churchill
found himself bewildered and c right-about-face * on all the beliefs and
creeds of his long life-time, and had begun to call black—white. The
entire episode was without parallel in the annals of British statesmanship,
"And on what is founded this hope of the British Prime Minister," asked
the Polish Listy z Londynu (London's Letters), Does he believe in the
rightful settlement of the Polish problem, or only in the possibility of our
surrender, which would mean that our Republic will be swamped by the
waves of the Soviet ocean. Does he acknowledge this * hope * as a possi-
* Campbell, J.3 "The Liquidation of Poland," Glasgow, 1944.